Joanne Massiah

After being struck from the United Progressive Party (UPP) slate of candidates for the next general elections, expected to take place in 2019, All Saints East & St Luke MP Joanne Massiah said she still intends to run for public office.

She also stated clearly that she still considers herself a bona fide member of the country’s main opposition party.

“Whenever the next election is called, Joanne Massiah will be on the ticket,” she said.

Asked which political organisation she would be representing, the MP said, ”Whatever ticket is there. Nobody knows the future, politics is dynamic. I will be running and I will not be a candidate on the Antigua Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) ticket, I want to make that clear,” Massiah said.

The UPP announced on Thursday that Political Leader Senator Harold Lovell had invoked his constitutional power of veto to exclude MP Massiah from the slate of candidates for the next general elections, following what it termed as “consultation and intense discussions on the matter”.

In a letter penned to Massiah, the political leader cited “the extremely acrimonious and divisive rift between [Massiah] and the party; unsubstantiated accusations levelled against the leadership; and marked lack of support for any party initiatives or positions in the past 11 months” among the reasons for his decision.

The letter delivered to the MP yesterday also stated that Massiah’s words and inaction “have served to demoralise the party at a time when confidence is most needed to rescue the state and people of this country”.

However, Massiah said that the statements in the letter are false and it is also evidence of a lack of comprehension of the UPP’s constitution.

“The constitution lays out clearly the procedures to be taken when certain actions are being contemplated or where a particular outcome is desired. In short order, I will say more when I would have had the opportunity to internalise the letter,” Massiah said.

The recent development within the UPP is the latest in a near year-long internal rift which stemmed from what had been described as a “divisive” race for leadership in 2015.

Lovell and Massiah were the main contenders. However, Massiah withdrew from the race ahead of the party’s convention claiming unfair treatment, conflict of interest and tampering with the delegates.

Since then there have been a series of public exchanges between the Lovell faction of the party and those who support Massiah.


(More in today’s Daily Observer)